Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Apricot and Raisin Bars - Bars Week #1

Recipe tried out in May 2011

Happy New Year! Err, a day late! Lyanne will start kindergarden this year and her first day will be on the 5th. I'm sure dear readers who are parents will be busy at this time of the year, especially those with new schoolers.

I'll start the ball rolling with Bars Week

This year is a rushing year. School starts and we have to start preparing for Chinese New Year as CNY falls end of this month. Not much time left. So, if you don't have time to bake cookies (that takes up a lot of time to form each one, make bars. Bars are easy to make. Press them all in a pan and bake, then cut. Easy peasy.

If you're into grain bars and cringe when it's always always always too sweet, try this.

The only sweetener here are from the fruits. In fact, I find it slightly under sweetened, LOL. I mean, maybe I'm expecting it to be sweeter, but it taste not as sweet as I expected it to be. But it's this level of sweetness that will allow you to take piece after piece after piece without feeling guilty.

I recieved this cookbook as a Christmas present many years ago, and have never tried anything from it as I am not really interested in any Fat Free cooking. But since I have a lot of dried apricots that been sitting my fridge for ages, say, more than a year, there's not much of excuse not to try this out.

I think this will be my first and last try out from this book.
Not because I felt the bars were undersweetened, but the temperature and pan size it reccomended. The baking temperature was too high and the pan size was way too huge. It asked for 200C(fan), but I baked mine at 170C(fan) and still the bars almost got burnt. So far the oven has been consistent in temperature and time with recipes from reputable authors. It's not my oven's fault, definately. So I'd reccomend it to be even lower, at 150C(fan). It called for 10X12 pan, but since I didn't have such a pan, and I looked at the mixture, it wasn't really that much. I pressed everything into a 8 inch square and yet I could get a 1cm thick bar. I can't imagine getting a half cm thick bar with the reccomended pan size. Can you imagine how many other things were inaccurate? I dare not try any other recipe from this book. This book shall collect dust from this day forward.

Apricot Raisin Bar
Recipe source: The Virtually Fat-Free Cookbook by Christine McFadden

280gm dried apricots
115gm quick cooking oats
1 tbsp butter, softened (original recipe calls for oil)
150gm black raisins

rewritten for better explaination
1. Soak dried apricots in water overnight. The water should be enough to cover the fruits.
2. Put apricots into a saucepan and some of the soaking liquid. Bring to a boil, cover with lid and lower to a simmer for 5 minutes or until apricots are soft enough to be mashed.
3. Drain apricots and mash with a fork. You can use a food processor, but it's a waste when everything gets stuck here and there.
4. Mix everything together.
5. Preheat oven to 150(fan)/170C. Prepare a 8 inch shallow square pan, line it with overlapping sides.
6. Press the mixture into the pan.
7. Bake for 45 minutes or until golden.
8. Remove from oven and let it cool down in pan.
9. Chill for 2 hours or until firm and cut into bars.
10. Store air tight or in the fridge (in tropical weather)


  1. My kind of snack - not overly sweet!
    Happy New Year to you and your family!

  2. Telepathic or what? I was into granola bars last year and yes, the pics are stil in my hdd and I haven't post them yet. I'm planning to make some again as kids' school extended their school hours and we need to prepare our own food for their snack break. I was just thinking of baking some granola bars this Fri :-)

    Might try this recipe but I haven't got cooking oats, just rolled oats. I think they should work just as fine.

  3. Very nice pictures and it looks very good.

  4. You have adapted it very well judging from the photos, I should make these to take to the office as snacks:)

  5. This bars you have made is a real healthy one and beautifully baked it! Good for breakfast and a snack too.

  6. A healthy start for the year...the way you described the level of sweetness would be just nice for me :)

  7. i think there are a lot of people like these kind of bars cos it's fat free and sounds so healthy. i actually prefer it not too think, 1 cm is good enough for me. why such a waste to let it collect dust? eh, pass this over.haha!! only kidding!

  8. small kucing,
    Hmmm..healthy one

    same to u!

    Granola Bars on Friday, hahaa. It's good to let kids eat more oats.

    yummy Bakes,

    haha, these were the best looking ones. I hid the dark almost burnt ones.

    Me too!

    hahaha... it's sugar free.

    It's not exactly fat free, one Tbsp of butter is still needed to toast it well. Yeah, now it's 1cm just nice. Actually I made this for my hospital stay. It was just beside me, but I dare not let u and Elin taste it, ahha, shy cos most of them half burnt. U want the book meh, aiyor, no good one la.

  9. Wendy, welcome back from your break. Hope you had a good time. Nice snack to have around the house. Happy New Year to you and your family. Hugs.

  10. Hi wendy
    Need yr advice. Which do u prefer to buy for baking - dried blackcurrants or golden sultanas or black raisins? Any difference in taste? Tks

  11. Zoe,
    Dried blackcurrants are more tangy.
    As for sultanas or raisins, it depends on the colour that I want. Taste wise, it's sweeter, but it also depends on the region it is grown in and the variety of grapes they are made with.


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